Henin states case with win over Dementieva
Justin Henin proved she is a genuine contender for this year's Australian Open title after she beat fifth seed Elena Dementieva in straight sets today.
The seven-time major winner has been touted as a possible winner after returning from 20 months on the sidelines to reach the final in Brisbane a fortnight ago, and strengthened her claims after winning 7-5 7-6 (8-6) in the second-round match.
Henin's fellow recently-returned Belgian, Kim Clijsters, also booked her passage to the third round along with top seeds Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Carolin Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic.
But for Henin it was an emotional night as the Belgian proved to herself she could yet claim her second title at Melbourne Park.
"It was a great match. It was very emotional for me on the court at the end because there was so much intensity," she said.
"To play this kind of match in the second round, for me, after two years off in a grand slam, it's just the kind of situation that I needed.
Clijsters prevailed in a tricky second-round match with veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn, winning 6-3 6-3.
The 26-year-old Belgian, however, was far from comfortable against the heavy hitting of her 32-year-old Thai opponent.
Tanasugarn, who reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2008, was able to dictate points against the 15th seed who needed one hour and 39 minutes to fend off the challenge from the world number 99.
"Tammy was very tricky," said Clijsters, who will now face 19th seed Nadia Petrova of Russia, a 6-4 6-4 winner over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.
"I haven't played her for a few years. I was actually surprised to see she was still playing.
"But she's very tricky. (It is) very hard to read her game.
"But she doesn't give you anything where you can just step in and hit a lot of winners.
"So I just had to be patient, wait for the right shot to go for it."
Russia's Safina beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-4 and will now meet Britain's Elena Baltacha, who knocked out 30th seed Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2 7-5 earlier in the day.
Safina's compatriot Kuznetsova beat fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-2 and was satisfied with her display, but knows there is room for improvement.
"Overall I think I played aggressive," said Kuznetsova, who now faces Angelique Kerber of Germany, a 6-2 6-3 victor over 26th seed Aravane Rezai of France.
"I played well. The only thing is I lost two serves in the first set.
"I had a very low percentage, 40%. I don't think is good enough."
Eighth seed Jankovic beat Britain's Katie O'Brien 6-2 6-2 and will now meet Alona Bondarenko in the third round.
The 31st seed from Ukraine was a 6-4 7-5 winner over Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
Other second-round winners were 11th seed Marion Bartoli of France, 27th seed Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, Russia's Maria Kirilenko, Italy's Sara Errani and Zheng Jie of China.
In the first round, Wozniacki of Denmark beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4 6-2 and Belarus' Azarenka defeated Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France 6-2 6-0.
Russia's Zvonareva progressed at the expense of Kristina Kucova of Slovakia, while Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden, Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele and Li Na of China, the 16th seed, also won through to the next round.
Daniela Hantuchova, the 22nd seed, beat Viktoriya Kutuzova 3-6 6-1 7-5 to join them in round two, while Yaroslava Shvedova, Tsvetana Pironkova, Tathiana Garbin, Julia Goerges, Iveta Benesova, Agnes Szavay and 29th seed Shahar Peer all progressed.
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